Thursday, January 19, 2012

Around the World: On the Train to Bangkok

January 19, 1992

"We're on the train to Bangkok, aboard the Thailand Express..." (Passage to Bangkok, Rush)


Well, it's not the Thailand Express, more like the State Railway of Thailand.  Thailand has the most intriguing dialect of English.  There's a sign under the window by my seat that says:


I'll do my best.



The toilets on the train are interesting.  The seat (which I'm not sure is actually meant to be sat on), is more like an elevated platform at a height just below my knees with a hole in the middle.  It takes a great deal of co-ordination to hang onto a bar with one hand while squatting over a target that seems to be in constant and unpredictable motion.

The train should be arriving in Bangkok around 6am tomorrow.  I have a berth to sleep in, which is just barely large enough to not be claustrophobic, complete with curtains to enable a little privacy.  Harvey is having a conversation with a guy passing through our car while I climb up into my bed.  I can't make out much of the conversation between them, other than Harvey is telling the guy that he is traveling with his wife and daughters.

Next thing I know, the curtain to my berth opens and I'm staring at this guy's face.  I ask what he wants, thinking he might be a train employee asking for my ticket.  He reaches into the berth toward me and I am able to push his hand away, only to realize he is reaching in with the other.  I spit out an earful of profanity and insults and inflict a few bruises from what appendages I can free to deter his groping.

Perhaps it was seeing me pounce out of the berth, or the realization that I am almost a foot taller than him, or my expression and stance that can only mean further harm is imminent.  More likely, it was something outside of the vision enclosing rage that encouraged the guy to leave.  Harvey appears quite amused as Anna explains to me what had just happened.  The guy had offered Harvey a few thousand baht for his daughters.  Harvey, pointed to my berth and said, "You can have the one that's up there."

There is no love for the human male in this car at the moment, and Harvey doesn't understand why.  Bangkok cannot come fast enough.

• ¤ •

"I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine.
One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble;
Not much between despair and ecstasy.
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble;
Can't be too careful with your company.
I can feel the Devil walking next to me."
~Murray Head

1 comment:

Erik said...

Harvey is an asshole. You should have kicked his ass! If I ever meet him I'm gonna do it for you!

"Release the hound!"